The Positive Economic Value of Soy Protein in Prepared and Nutritional Foods
Many times we are asked, “Why should we use soy proteins in their processed food products and blended protein beverage and bar solutions?” One of the very best reason is price stability over the long term.
In recent years, we have seen the prices of WPC/WPI and Caseinates/MPCs soar
above their historical average prices by 50 to 60% . All these milk based proteins are subject to global and domestic effects on the producing country’s supply and demand for fluid milk for retail dairy products including fluid milk and cheese as well as conversion into butter and skim milk powder or caseinates/milk protein concentrate powders. In addition, strong demand for Whey proteins have resulted in long leadtimes and short supply while dairy companies try to balance out their cheese production against this demand. Although present prices appear stable, milk-based proteins remain volatile to any supply versus demand imbalance.
In contrast, isolated soy protein (90% protein) and soy protein concentrates (65% protein) are very price stable. The prices for isolated soy proteins has remained stable only increasing due to subtle soy crop-related changes, capital improvement,energy,labor and transportation and inflation while at the same time improving in flavor, quality and improved functionality. (Over the past three decades, the average cost of domestically produced soy isolates has increased only 2.5% per year.)
A primary reason for this price stability is that 85% of world’s soybean production is crushed into soybean oil and meal. Of the meal,98% is converted into animal feed and only 2% is further processed into soy flour and proteins. With a bountiful supply of raw material, soy protein shortages and price spikes are rare.
As we develop the nutritious foods of the future and consider the positive nutritional and physiological value of blended proteins, let us recall the most price stable of all: Soy protein.